Boil The Pot Of Sassa-Wood, Now

By Gbe Sneh

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

August 12, 2003

"We are going to die o. Let's die". This is an ageless adage from our national archives. O, so we are going to die for standing up for what is right? Well, let's die then. This, in essence, is what is being pitched from the unified voice of the opposition leadership at the Peace Talks at Akosumbo, Ghana. All Liberians should give this drum beat a keen ear, and stand up. Cowering in light of the proposed set up of a War Crimes tribunal, interpreting it as a loaded gun that would plunge us into another gunfire deja-vu, would not be the thing for us to do now, at the moment of truth. Succumbing to such cowardice amounts to a self infliction of injustice.

We have in motion, spanning decades, a vicious circle of terror in its full array of properties - INTIMIDATION, HUMILIATION, SUBJUGATION, LOOTING, RAPING KILLING, STARVATION, and the resultant LIVING IN ABJECT POVERTY.

And the perpetrators who have been unleashing these atrocities on the People of Liberia are reveling in impunity. It makes it hard to bear that these heartless criminals are living among us, showing no remorse. Does it hurt? Are these people still a threat to the peaceful nation that we are clamoring to build? In the name of humanity, for the sake of all those who have perished, and for our peace of mind in a secured nation, please answer these questions!

There are those among us who hail from the school of the first phrase in the ageless adage mentioned above - we are going to die o. To this group, we are going to shout with one voice, “Let's die”! And we are going to add also, another old adage, "Let it eat what it may". That, my friends, is our archival translation of "Let the chips fall where they may." Why should we kid ourselves that getting rebels and government troops to cease fire, and putting an interim government in place, is all that is needed to break this cycle of primitive and senseless killings cooked up in cannibalism?

My good friends, it is the day of reckoning, a time to place the all too important link in the cycle. It is a time to usher in the advent of the imposition of the element of fear, a check against the perennial airs of impunity that the culprits of crimes against the people have enjoyed for decades. It is time to bring out the old sassa-wood. Let's send the message to would-be agitators of terror that accountability and retribution awaits them when the guns cease firing. Let the People of Liberia finally have the peace of mind that henceforth, anyone who wages a criminally intent war will have some sassa-wood waiting for him to take.

A War Crimes Tribunal cannot be taken out of the process of finding a viable and lasting peace for our nation. Common sense dictates that this must be implemented. We are talking about deterrence here, that which would make the bandits, murderers, cannibals and the likes, think twice. To forego the institution of a tribunal is to rest assured that all the efforts at forging a lasting peace would be wasted. Any peace attained against such a backdrop would be ephemeral at best, an interregnum soon be shattered by another group of bandits armed with the biggest weapon of all, airs of impunity.

Let's bring out the big iron pot and start boiling the sassa-wood. It is time for mea culpa.